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Art has written this book so the reader, unfamiliar with the construction process, will understand every aspect of the process. But this is not a beginner's only boat building book. Advanced craftsmen and top professionals have equally as much to learn from Art's years of experience.
Art takes the reader from the first step of Building a Fiberglass Boat to the last step, in a manner that will certainly inspire all who ever pondered the notion. He expertly explains why a competent craftsman would want to undertake the, seemingly, overwhelming task of building their own boat.
Art has described the two most popular sizes and styles of boats as examples for the project; a twenty-five foot open boat and a thirty-three foot cruising boat. Sail is also explained, although there is little difference in the basic construction methods. By referring to these example boats, the reader can envision a boat of any size, limited only by the reader's imagination and wallet thickness.
Everyone can learn from this book. If you have a boat just waiting to be built, you will now have the knowledge. If you never plan to build a boat, you will understand the entire process, making the "Buying Experience" far less confusing.
There are no "Trade Secrets", only knowledge not yet learned. Illustrated.
From the Author
There are many people who read boating magazines or go with boat owners who need crew to accompany them for fishing or just for a relaxing afternoon cruise. These people are well informed about boats that are being sold and they go to boat shows to inquire about what is new on the market. Often these experienced people become boat owners by building their boat exactly as they want it. Many times they cannot find what they want from the many manufacturers. All it takes is time and energy and less of an investment when compared with boats from the dealers.
This book is written for those people who know what they want in a boat and have a great amount of satisfaction in their workmanship. Glass fiber hulls have become dominant in the boating world as the most desirable material. By far, the most important quality of glass fiber laminates is longevity. Boats built in 1950 are still being used with great success. That is why this book concentrates solely on this durable and popular material. Any conceivable shape can be made from glass fiber when laminating a custom hull. The building techniques are explained in these pages.
Glass fiber laminates are man made products that are a combination of the glass fiber filaments and a binder of resin. As such, the quality of the finished hull depends solely on the patience and skill of the person who builds it. The skill of laminating is very easily acquired with a little practice on some sample laminates. Like any other piece of workmanship, it is the careful attention to detail that results in a fine looking and long lasting boat. Boat building cannot be done in a quick and haphazard manner. Concentration and perseverance must be judiciously applied to obtain the boat of your lifetime.
As you read these pages, you will soon understand the many tasks and time involved in a boat building project. You may decide building your own boat is not a project you have the time to complete yourself. Even if this is your decision, you will have the knowledge to contract the project to a competent builder, confidant you will have the boat of your dreams when the project is complete.
WHY BUILD YOUR OWN BOAT?
Many people go out on boats want to own their own boat but can't justify the expense in this era of inflated prices. This book will discuss the alternative solutions of building your glass fiber boat either when buying a bare hull or when building a custom hull. The book will illustrate 2 boats, one 25 feet and one 33 feet in length. But the construction procedures apply to hulls of any length.
One exception to this is when a boat smaller than twenty feet is considered. The stock boat market is literally flooded with small boats and because of the large numbers, the prices are very competitive and it often is practical to purchase rather than build. If you think building a small hull is absolutely necessary, it is easier to work quarter inch plywood into the desired shape and use it as a core material. Glass is then laminated both inside and outside to the desired thickness, neglecting the plywood thickness. There are many inexpensive plans and frame kits for small boats and this is probably the least expensive path to follow. Another option is rebuilding a good used hull.
When you look at the offerings of manufactured boats, you see open boats for fishing, water skiing or family outings plus semi-enclosed boats, sport fishing boats or cruising hulls. Many times an owner will want something different, such as a wide open deck for SCUBA diving groups or for fish traps, a deck crane for salvage operations or a tall mast for communications antennae. If you want one of these arrangements or a boat with different berthing facilities or equipment, it may be wise to build it yourself.
Pride of ownership and knowing that you built it yourself is always a great stimulus for building your boat. If you want it done right; build it yourself. When you do your own construction you can control the costs, quality and amount of equipment.
A custom boat always commands a higher price on the resale market, rightly assuming that the hull is of top quality and that careful attention to detail has been used in all phases of the design and construction. In any port, the custom hull gets the most attention and inquiries.
WHERE TO BUILD
Often, an owner will select a boat less than 25 feet as that is the space available in their garage. This selection of a building site is very important as the rental of a warehouse can run into many thousands over the time necessary for construction. Also, one of the first considerations must be the last step of getting the boat to a launching site. Smaller boats can be put directly on a trailer, but larger hulls must be set in a cradle, described later and lifted onto a flat bed transport. Wires above roads must not be between the building site and the water, as this will create an overhead clearance problem.
Wherever you select, make sure the neighbors will not mind the noise of construction and the occasional smell of styrene from the resin used in laminations. There will be many hours devoted to sanding and the dust should be contained so the neighbor's roses will not be contaminated. Security must be considered at any building site as the theft of tools or engines can occur anywhere. Padlocks on the doors are not adequate, but deadbeats are more secure. Windows should be barred or pinned, as the glass is easily broken. Of course, the door opening should be wider and higher than the boat.
If you cannot borrow or rent a suitable building site, some people consider a 'temporary' building shelter made of pipe frames plus wire supports held by ground anchors. The pipe may be galvanized steel or PVC which is usually covered with a sheet plastic both inside and outside the pipe. These shelters are advertised in the magazines devoted to boat building or they may be built by a clever mechanic.
Sometimes, with friendly cooperation, a lean-to type of shelter may be built outside an existing building so one wall is common to both. The obvious disadvantage to a temporary shelter is it cannot be locked and there is absolutely no security. High winds may destroy the plastic covering and heavy rains may flood the building site. The temperature for laminating successfully must be between 65 degrees and 85 degrees, which may be difficult to attain in a temporary shelter.
You now see the requirements for a building site. It must be large enough to house the boat in all three dimensions plus room for a workbench, table saw, dry glass material storage and safe resin storage.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS
Building your boat is a very pleasurable occupation as we all get a great satisfaction from a job well done. But lurking in the shadows is the consideration of money. Costs have to be considered in whatever we do. I have compiled a list of approximate costs of a manufactured boat and a boat built by an owner. These are estimates as there is a wide variation from builder to builder. The greatest difference is in the type and horsepower of engines that are installed. Obviously there is a great difference from a small outboard motor to inboard gas engines, to large diesel engines. A varnished, rare wood interior may be three times the cost of painted plywood. A 25 foot stock boat may be $30,000 or $60,000 and a 33 foot manufactured boat may be $110,000 or $160,000. When comparing boat prices, pay careful attention to the engines and the extent and quality of the interior.
Posted January 12, 2000
I found this book to have some very good content, but fell short many times of providing the details necessary to actually build the boat. Quite a few areas are quickly glossed over, even if there was a warning that the material being discussed was very important. I was interested in building a hull in a female mold. Only seven and 1/2 pages were devoted to building the hull, and this is a small book (the pages are only about 4 by 6 inches). I was also interested in building a keel for a sailboat and this was not even discussed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.